Wedding cakes remain the focal point of wedding receptions, and 2017 brings its own special twists to this edible piece of art. To help you choose your wedding cake, we spoke with Toni Roberts, pastry chef for theWit Hotel in Chicago, to find out what’s hot and what’s not with wedding cakes this year. Read on to see the top 2017 trends for wedding cakes.

LoriAllen.tv: What are the top trends for wedding cakes and desserts in 2017?

Toni Roberts: In wedding cakes, natural geological elements such as geodes, marble, and precious metals are making a splash. The flashy gold of the last few years is moving toward mixed metals: copper, bronze, brass, rose gold and silver. The rustic look is taking a more modern approach with linear designs and patterns. Fine-dining plated desserts are having a similar look. Verrines (parfaits, or anything layered in a container) are also quite popular.

Top 2017 trends for wedding cakes

Courtesy of Rachel Brown

LA: What wedding cake designs continue to be popular?

TR: The casual buttercream pleating is still our most popular buttercream design. It is taking on various textures from wide pleats to fine combing depending on the design desires of the couple.

LA: What wedding cakes flavors and fillings continue to be popular?

TR: Spiced carrot cake with cream cheese frosting was a huge hit for us in 2016. I think this year will move toward more fruit fillings.

LA: How can brides incorporate wedding cake and dessert trends into their event on a budget?

TR: Just like fancy throw pillows class up a bargain couch, small splashes of the details can be added to a simple cake to add some pizzazz and style. Consider a buttercream cake with a colored fondant monogram, or a little gold or silver leafing accenting the buttercream around the florals; a little goes a long way.

Though I think they are taking on a more refined, less rustic look, naked cakes are still popular and start at the same base pricing as a basic buttercream cake at theWit. It’s a way to do something different and trendy without upcharges.

Another option could be to go all out on a small cake for display and order side cakes to feed all of the guests. It depends on the cake maker/venue, but at theWit we only apply the custom upgrade charges to the amount of people the cake feeds. The side cakes are charged at base pricing per person. For example, if there are 200 guests, we could do a fancy custom cake with upcharges for 100 and the other 100 are at base pricing.

LA: What wedding cake styles and flavors never go out of style?

TR: I LOVE a simple, textured buttercream cake with fresh flowers scattered down the tiers. Also, any custom topper that shows the couple’s personality is a great addition! I think there should always be a flavor the couple likes and then something to appease all of the guests. We do a Neapolitan cake with white and devil’s food cake, strawberry cream cheese frosting, vanilla bean buttercream, and chocolate ganache-it’s a crowd pleaser!

Top 2017 trends for wedding cakes

Courtesy of theWit

LA: Are novelty wedding dessert trends like doughnut walls on the way out?

TR: I don’t think they are on the way out, but used as more of an addition to the wedding cake. Weddings tend to be less stuffy these days so any interactive elements for the guests are always a fun idea. We do doughnut towers, toast your own s’more stations and mini dessert displays quite often.

LA: What is your No. 1 piece of advice for brides when it comes to choosing their wedding cake and desserts?

TR: Look at a lot of photos, and take them with you to your tasting/design session. If you don’t have a complete vision for the cake or desserts, show photos of anything you like to the pastry chef/baker; invitation prints, color swatches, floral arrangements and venue photos are all game. This is very helpful!

Also, menus can only be written to be so big. Just because it isn’t listed doesn’t mean it can’t be made. Always ask! There are so many ways to make the food reflect your tastes and personalities.

And, make sure you eat a piece on the big day!